Louis Vuitton Spring Summer 19 Collection
Its here. It’s happening. The review that eeeeeveryone (all 1 of you) has been asking for:
The Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer ’19 Menswear collection and our first look behind the ratty oversized curtain into what Virgil Abloh has been doing since taking over as Men’s Artistic Director for the heritage brand.
Spoiler Alert: it wasn’t designing.
If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then the worlds largest library wouldn’t contain enough typographical capital to acquire all of the digital content of this show has created. It seems almost like something that doesn’t quite fit in the definition of ‘fashion show’ qua fashion show. I mean, there have been events before, there have been celebrity front rows — even celebrities on the runway — before, but this….this was different.
(certainly) Not better, but just…different.
We’ll get to the clothes — you know, the point of a fashion show (or is it?) and a fashion review (or is it??) — in a moment, but I think its important that you understand how I’m approaching this.
When Virgil was named to his position, I jokingly— pause for effect— mentioned that ‘hype’, not talent, is what put him there.
Which isn’t to say that he’s not talented! Of course not! Don’t be silly! but how does that famous quote go…’If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it’ll spend its whole life thinking its stupid’?
Then I should have known that judging a DJ…I mean stylist…I mean (autodidactic) “DESIGNER” on his ability to compose a runway collection….well…you get the point.
But maybe I’m being too harsh?
To be faaaiiirrr it’s more than limiting to look to a finished collection to be responsible to its own shortcomings as to what did or did not work, when the intention behind every seam, every detail, every pattern, is cemented months prior in its production mistakes, artistic compromises, and perhaps most deeply, its financial obligations.
You see, to me at least, the collection itself isn’t necessarily the “CREATION”, but rather the result of the creation. “CREATION” isn’t what walked down that runway, but rather, everything else heaped on top of it, wrapped in quilted cotton and unnecessary zippers.
If I were to be able to comprehensively and completely review this show I’d have to have been following around not only Virgil from its inception, but probably also the CFO so I could understand the corporate 5 year growth plan, target ROI, and fiscal performance y-o-y for at least the past decade.
I just want to make sure that we keep in mind that cash — not creativity — rules everything around us.
I tried to mention this to a couple people I know who are ~in the industry~ but the narrative cool-aide of “Virgil Abloh is single handedly doing something great with only the strength of his creative genius he’s a creative JEANIUS” goes down a lot smoother than the 2017 LVMH annual report.
So what does that leave me with? If I can’t know what was going through the minds of the LVMH C-level execs as Virgil presented the concept brief for this collection months ago, then can I really say anything? Should I? Should any of us?
If not, what am I even doing here? Should I quit reviewing things? Should I just give up on life completely and start eating at Olive Garden? Whats real? Whats fake? Does it matter? Does anything matter? SHOULD I JUST GIVE UP??!
SHOULD I LET THIS LOUIS VUITTON SHOW AND ITS UNANSWERABLE QUESTIONS CONTINUE TO HOLD MY HEAD UNDER THE RUSHING WATERS OF THIS EXISTENTIAL CRISIS?
COULD I MAKE THAT CHOICE EVEN IF I WANTED TO??
IM NOT YELLING, YOU ARE
Sidebar: am I….dramatic? I mean, I have the face of an model, and the body (weight) of a model (S 2018 Tesla — 4,647- 4,941 lbs)….should I like…become an actor? Oh and thats pronounced: ‘ack-tour’ for you uncultured lot.
Ok? I’m like, soooooo culture. I’m a bacterial culture.
*clears throat nervously*
Annnnnnyyywwaaayyyy, I’m going to make the decision to not have this be the thing that ruins my life — that spot is reserved for men with neck tattoos and kind eyes — and talk about the collection as what it is, who it’s for, and what, if anything, we can take from it as it pertains to “THE CULTURE”.
WHAT IT IS:
In a weird way, its almost as if the clothes are the least important part of the collection. It’s clear (at least to me, ostensibly so) that Virgils true goal isn’t to create clothing that transcends commodity, driven by design, that comes from the depths of his emotional core. BUT, like a page from the Kanye West's Big Book of Brand Building (available exclusively where books released on twitter are sold), he seems content with simply creating a digital history of hype that can be quantified.
It seems that it no longer matters WHAT is created, as long as whatever comes out is the most talked about, most tweeted about, most blogged about (got eeeeeeem), most hyped, thing there is. And no-one in fashion right now is better at quantifying hype than Virgil. And this is so SO important because if something can be quantified, then it can be monetized.
AND YOU IN THE MONETIZATION NATION CHILE
(thats ‘chile’ like a sassy riff on “child” and not the South American nation of Chilé…I just…just want to make sure theres no confusion…)
WHO’S IT FOR:
Um idk, like celebrity stylists, rich kids from New Jersey, Jaden Smith, and anyone else that uses clothing as a means to make up for the holes in their personality where original thoughts would typically go….and obviously Bella Hadid as if I even had to say it.
WHAT CAN WE TAKE FROM IT:
Well, as it pertains to ‘the culture’, I suppose this is where the show, and Virgil, really start to do some heavy lifting. Like, sure, maybe I thought the clothes were a clonazepammy, walking snooze-festical (not festival, festical— thats right, I get to make up all kinds of words), could-have-seen-this-coming-from-a-mile-away, exercise in wasting money. BUT that could be said about a lot of shows! (see I’m nice!)
What this show has that the others don’t however, is the true reason why LV made their decision. It was not Virgil’s creations that moved him there, it was Virgil himself.
It was everything he represents.
He is “Future” incarnate.
For an industry that is obbbbssseeessseeedddd with ‘newness’, Virgil embodies not only the aesthetic of where fashion seems to be steamrolling towards —streetwear (although which ‘street’ being referred to is becoming ever more challenging to pin down)— but he himself, a black man (duhn-duhn-duuuuhhhhnnnn!), looks like the future of fashion. He looks like the whole world outside of whiteness who, with each passing generation, is seeing their spending power grow. The reach of the internet has created markets no longer bond by a coastline, and the (first and second) world over is reshaping itself, oozing through the cracks of the past, and creating a new mold, a new model, of how we define retail, and more powerfully, how we define fashion.
IT’S NOT ABOUT THE CLOTHES, ITS ABOUT THE SHOW. It’s about showing everyone that people that look like Virgil, people that think like Virgil, people that design like Virgil, can spend up that good white European money just like everybody else. They can hold positions of power. They can influence an industry.
This about “REPRESENTATION” ya heard.
Ellison: "I am invisible, simply understand, because people refuse to see me."
I too am invisible, because I do not see myself.
Show me something Virgil. Show me how to make it to the top. Show me how to do things that have never been done before, by someone who looks like you. Like me. Show us what to do when we get there, and how to make the world watch. Show me how to quantify it. Then show me how to monetize it.
So yeah , I didn’t like the clothes, but I loved the show.
Check out the full collection below and let me know what you think in the comments.